Bye Bye, BlackBerry: Profits Crash, Balsillie Dash

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BlackBerry has hit a ditch after $125m losses and its co-founder leaves the board.

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Research In Motion, the maker of BlackBerry fourth quarter results and full fiscal year end March 3, released today, make for some dreary reading as iPhone and Android continue to eat into its customer base.

RIM’s reported GAAP net loss in Q4 was $125 million, while revenue fell 19% to $4.2 billion in three months to March 3, compared to Q3.

Shipments of BlackBerry smartphones, once the darling of the phone industry, fell 21% to 11.1 million in its latest quarter, while 500,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets were also shipped.

This compares abysmally to Apple dizzying iPhone sales which topped 37 million for Oct-Dec last, while iPad sales topped 15 million – on net profits $13.1bn.

RIM revenues for the fiscal year was $18.4 billion, down 7%. However, GAAP net profit for fiscal 2012 was $1.2 billion, or $2.22 per share diluted – just one third of the $3.4 billion figure it recorded a year ago.

This news comes as a series of senior management figures have also jumped ship. Jim Balsillie, former Co-CEO of the Company, has resigned from the RIM Board, citing “retirement,” after recently stepping down from the top job.

“As I complete my retirement from RIM, I’m grateful for this remarkable experience and for the opportunity to have worked with outstanding professionals who helped turn a Canadian idea into a global success,” Balsillie said.

Barb Stymiest, Chair of RIM’s Board of Directors, praised Balsillie for his 20 years of service:

“His energy, drive and enthusiasm helped build one of the most successful technology companies of our time.”

David Yach, Chief Technology Officer of Software is also to leave Canadian based RIM after 13 years as is Jim Rowan, COO, Global Operations, who “has decided to pursue other interests,” RIM said in a statement today.

“The Company is currently undertaking a search to hire a single COO with responsibilities to run the Company’s operations. “

However, despite the carnage RIM’s new CEO, Thorsten Heins, remains positive: “I have assessed many aspects of RIM’s business during my first 10 weeks as CEO.

“The Company has substantial strengths that can be further leveraged to improve our financial performance, including RIM’s global network infrastructure, a strong enterprise offering and a large and growing base of more than 77 million subscribers.

“I’m very excited about the prospects for the BlackBerry 10 platform, which is on track for the latter part of calendar 2012,” he added.

However, Heins said he recognised the “significant” business challenges the troubled giant faces over the next several quarters and said he was “taking the necessary steps to address them,” citing the delivery of BlackBerry’s 10 platform and refocusing resources on “key opportunities” including BlackBerry Mobile Fusion.

 

RIM is also plutting the heavies on management performance with management accountability and process discipline among the new regimes in place at the top.

The ailing smartphone maker said it is undertaking “a comprehensive review of strategic opportunities including partnerships and joint ventures, licensing, and other ways to leverage RIM’s assets.”

RIM also said it will to discontinue providing specific quantitative guidance. 

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